Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Draft Combine 2014: On Doug McDermott and other Suns ‘problems’


Welcome to the Phoenix Suns’ version of White People Problems.

Even though they are coming into the 2014 NBA Draft Combine with a lot of options and three first-round picks, the Suns will be victims of the market — although, unlike other teams, they have the ability to move up or down the draft. Rising stock could put a targeted player out of the Suns’ range, and falling stock could give them a shot at a player considered to have high-lottery talent.

Phoenix’s place in the market is unique.

The Suns shouldn’t have anything to complain about, but if the status quo remains, they sit at the fringe of where potential superstars are hard to find but sure-fire role players are expected. Especially in a relatively strong draft, Phoenix will have intriguing options with the 14th and even the 18th pick.

With Day 2 of the NBA Draft Combine on-court action closing up shop, here’s a look at a few players that are playing themselves out of the Suns’ mid-first-round range with both good and bad combine appearances, and a peek at those who could be moving into Phoenix’s range — or, rather, falling into it.

Rising stock

Nik Stauskas: The Michigan Wolverines point guard came in with the size, an elite shooting stroke and flashes of playmaking skills out of the pick-and-roll that could make him a mid first-round pick. But after measuring out very well as a big point guard, he surprised with a decent 35.5 max vertical and a 10.79 second lane agility drill that might suggest he’s more than fine from the athletic side of things. In Phoenix’s perspective, this might not be the best thing. A few mock drafts list Stauskas as going 14th to the Suns, but he might be inching his way up the lottery. The only nick to Stauskas’ resume was his 12 percent body fat, but that seems like it’s being written off.

Rodney Hood: While Stauskas’ rising stock could hurt his chances of landing in Phoenix, Hood’s could help his. The Duke swingman, who was projected to go in the 20s, might be worth a look for the Suns with one of their first two picks, because his combine makes it look less likely he falls to Phoenix’s 27th selection. Go through the shooting drills and you’ll find Hood did himself a lot of good on Wednesday. Overall, he hit 69 percent of his shots and had the fourth-best performance. In general, he was most impressive scoring on the move and of the dribble.

If the Suns keep their 14th and 18th picks, selecting a wing player could come down to Hood, Kentucky’s James Young, Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels or N.C. State’s T.J. Warren. Unlike McDaniels, who hit 50 percent of his shots overall, or Warren, who didn’t participate, Hood and Young wouldn’t need to learn how to shoot.

Zach LaVine: Though he is going to label himself as a point guard, LaVine not only measured out like an NBA shooting guard but displayed a 41.5 inch vertical leap on top of a 6-foot-8.25 wingspan. ESPN’s Chad Ford said he was the best athlete on the floor — not surprising — which could help him move into the lottery despite his underwhelming production at UCLA as a freshman. It’s still very unclear where LaVine will go, but it’s possible he is selected ahead of the Suns’ 14th pick if things keep going his way.

Falling stock

Doug McDermott : McDermott might still be considered a lottery pick, but his questionable defensive abilities leading into the combine won’t go well with his measurements. He was listed at 6-foot-6.5 without shoes and had a 6-foot-9.25 wingspan at 218 pounds. Those are small forward measurements, which is bad news for a player who is slow afoot but not strong enough to play the 4. Per Sporting News:

“You know, it is beauty in the eye of the beholder, and if you think you can envision a role for him, then you would use a lottery pick on him, because he has so much talent,” one team executive told Sporting News. “But those numbers were not good. They were potentially disastrous. You really wanted to be able to play him at the 4 some, you know, to fake it in some small lineups. I don’t think you can even do that.”

McDermott also didn’t go through any drills, which is a perfect example of why lottery players don’t participate. It could only hurt him. The good news: McDermott is one player who could potentially fall, and the Suns would at least have to think about bringing on the draft’s best shooter, even though general manager Ryan McDonough has history of targeting players who are more physically unique.

Gary Harris: At last season’s combine, Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore was considered small at 6-foot-3.5 in socks. His 6-foot-7.75 wingspan wasn’t too impressive either, but he did have an elite 42-inch vertical leap. Harris likewise comes into the 2014 combine as an undersized shooting guard; he was only 6-foot-2.75 in socks and turned in a 6-foot-6.75 wingspan. Harris didn’t go through drills, and his stock could also be falling into the Suns’ range.

  • Milich Kosanovich

    McDermott is beginning to look like Adam Morrison 2.0. If the Suns take him with a late pick he will probably will last as long as Casey Jacobsen did. As you recall Casey had similar physical attributes but the Suns were high on his shooting. He was out of the NBA after four seasons.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Yeah, with the league being being around 81% Black players, White players who’ve had great college careers are always viewed as the next Larry Bird. Jimmer Fredette, Adam Morrison, Mike Dunleavy,Joe Alexander, J.J. Riddick, etc,……McDermott has bust written all over him.

  • Milich Kosanovich

    Elfrid Payton will be this years late pick steal. Suns should snag him with #27 if he is still on board. Celtics like him as the next Rajon Rondo.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Great observation Milich! It would give the Suns a three PG rotation similar to when the had Kidd, K.J. and Nash.

  • 4everis2long

    Good stuff Kev. I saw the Suns met with Vonleh who I am really impressed with. I also saw that LaVine’s stock is rising and Adams had a terrible max vertical of I think 29.5 (however he shot the ball well).

  • KlausFlouride

    Anyone see the parting shot Gortat took a Dragic? He doesn’t mention Dragic by name but it isn’t hard to figure it out given Gortat’s playing history. I saw it on hoopshype. I won’t link it as it seems that my links don’t make it through the filter. Basically he said he will be looking at teams with good point guards because he can’t play with blind point guards. He said Wall was one of the good ones.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      That is funny, I read it but I didn’t link it to Dragic. I found it funny because of Gortat’s two huge turnovers in the final minutes of their elimination game. One was when Wall hit him with a perfect pass while he was standing at the basket that went right through his hands and out of bounds, The second was when he decided to dribble the ball upcourt but when he tried to pass it he stopped dribbling but kept walking for a traveling call.

      • KlausFlouride

        The only reason I link it to Dragic is because who has he really played with? I don’t think that Orlando counts because of his role. He comes to Phx and looks like a steal because of Nash and then looks pedestrian with Goran. So I am guessing he is talking about Dragic because he had a year that wasn’t that great and then shipped to Wash. But I admit, I am just guessing. Why would he say that if he doesn’t feel like he has some experience with a shoot first point guard? I guess he could be trying to acclimatize himself prior to free agency. Maybe I’ve read too much into it.

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          I read the complete interview on CBS sports and it sounds like Gortat was simply acknowledging that his game is predicated on a willing and passing PG. I don’t think he was taking shots at Dragic or anybody else.

  • Truth928

    If McDermott knows whats good for him he will do Anything to avoid playing for the Sacdemento “kings”..The WORST Organization in Sports History..Want proof? They are “building their team” around a complete Head Case (cuz), Their coach Malone, is Clueless, P Ranadive their GM isn’t really sure what Basketball is ( “some kind of an athletic contest involving a steel circle and a wood floor”__—and their owner is trying to get The India market interested in the Worst Basketball team in the NBA when he cant even get people from Sacramento interested.. Doug…STAY AWAY !!!!!!!